We’ve almost achieved a Covid-19 vaccination rate of 15% in the United States. Each day I see more and more postings on Facebook, friends sharing their elation at receiving their first dose of either the Moderna or Pzfizer vaccine. Many people in the approved groups are still waiting their turn and growing frustrated, while I read and hear news stories reporting wasted vaccines and inequitable distribution. The distribution system has many flaws, both on the national, state, and county level. The recently approved one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should make getting everyone who wants to be vaccinated easier, but it’s a massive endeavor.
Meanwhile the lucky ones, those who have already received their first or even second shot are making plans for long postponed trips, family parties, and visits to their favorite indoor restaurant. But wait, not so fast, the health experts tell us. Be careful. Wear your mask. Social distance. Wash your hands. We’re all still vulnerable and a fourth wave of the virus might be right around the corner. Vaccinated individuals may still be capable of spreading the disease.
Those vehemently opposed to wearing masks, because it infringes on personal freedom, are using these cautionary messages as fuel to add fire to their opposition to being vaccinated. Justifiably, the speed with which vaccines have been produced makes many suspicious. While previously a vaccine required ten to fifteen years to develop, the shortest record being four years for the Mumps vaccine, scientists claim to have developed multiple successful vaccines in less than 12 months. How is this possible? This is a battle between life and death. Scientists around the globe started working on this project nonstop as soon as they had the DNA sequencing. While no one in my immediate family has died from Covid-19, I’ve heard enough stories from work colleagues and friends who have suffered the ravages of Covid-19 and lost loved ones, to know the threat is real. I may not always believe everything my government tells me, but I’ve been following the research and development of the various vaccines since the Covid-19 pandemic began. I trust the scientists. I trust them more than the politicians. Probably these “vaccines” will need to be updated and refined. Most likely, each year a booster shot will be warranted. But at least they are a start.
Normal. When are we going to return to normal? This is the question everyone is asking. Fortunately in the United States the warmer season of Spring is almost here, and mild temperatures will enable us to spend a little more time interacting with each other from a safe social distance. Vaccinated or not vaccinated, masks will continue to be recommended.
Two masks? If a mask does not completely cover both nose and mouth and fit close enough to prevent air entering through open gaps, it can’t filter out airborne particles of the coronavirus. Alone or with my husband walking the dog through open stretches of our neighborhood, I confess I’m not wearing a mask. But I’m careful to keep my social distance if others approach. Downtown or inside of a building, I’m tightly masked.
Fifteen percent is just a start. In order for herd immunity to be achieved, based on other diseases that have been subdued with vaccination programs, we’ll need to have approximately 70 percent to 95 percent of the population either vaccinated or possessing anti-bodies. Current predictions are that enough vaccine will become available for all Americans who want it by the end of summer. But with so many others around the world still vulnerable, with no vaccine supplies, the Pandemic could continue for another year into 2022.
Hold on to those masks and the liquid hand soap. We will continue to need them.